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Parents urged to ensure sporting seasons start on right foot

Published:18 February 2021

Podiatry Lecturer Angela Wilczek

As sporting seasons start to kick off, a CQUniversity podiatry expert is urging parents to ensure their kids shoes are the right fit.

Clinical Engagement Coordinator and Podiatry Lecturer Angela Wilczek said it was incredibly important to ensure the right shoe is sourced for sports.

“Children and teenagers (six to 18 years) spend a lot of time running around in their sporting shoes – whether that be at school, during training or when playing proper games,”  Ms Wilczek said.

“What parents don’t necessarily know is that the foot changes in shape and size as the child grows and the process of finding shoes that are fit for purpose for a child may be quite different from that of an adult,” she explained.

“Ill-fitting and inappropriate footwear can cause foot problems in adulthood. Many of these adult foot problems such as bunions and heel pain, may be avoided if parents are equipped with the knowledge to select the right shoes for their children.”

Ms Wilczek provided some tips for parents when on the hunt for sporting shoes.

“Many shops offer shoe fitting services, but it is sometimes challenging to discern if it’s a sales pitch, or if the right shoes are being recommended,” she explained.

“First of all, shoes should suit the purpose/activity for which they are intended. For example, high impact sports such as tennis need appropriate cushioning, and sports that require sudden changes in direction such as netball need extra reinforcing in the shoe upper.

“Toes should not touch the end of your shoes, as this may damage toes and nails and shoes should be broad enough for your individual foot shape,” she continued.

“A good tip is to draw an outline of your foot, place the shoe over the top, and if the outline of your foot is wider than your shoe, your shoe is probably too narrow.”

Ms Wilczek also said buying sports shoes later in the day was another good idea.

“Most feet tend to be slightly larger at the end of the day.

“And finally, make sure you don’t need to ‘wear the shoes in’. Shoes should have a comfortable fit from the first wear.”